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Posts Tagged ‘Social network

Making system administration social

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Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...
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How can we make system administration more social (in the social networking sense)? And, more importantly, does anyone want to make it more social?

I’ve been thinking about this recently because I’m using Twitter and participating in the community of VMware and cloud enthusiasts who are gathered there. There are loads of technical tips and tricks being shared on a daily basis and members of the community are supporting other members who have specific technical challenges. It is quite clearly valuable in building community among VMware users, the company and its users, as well as a practical way to get tips, tricks, and solutions to problems very quickly and in a ‘crowdsourced’ manner.

One way to make system administration more social would be to bake social networking features into the system administrators toolkit. Some examples of ‘social’ system administration products:

Web browser plugin: Similar to what Zemanta does to recognize that you’re working on a blog post, one could build a plugin that sees you’re logging into the web interface of a management application (e.g. Rightscale) and create an overlay that provides relevant Twitter content and interaction capabilities.

Plugins to extensible management systems: For example, VMware’s VCenter allows for 3rd party plugins. As far as I know, there is no technical reason why a plugin couldn’t be written to ntegrate with the Twitter API and/or specific RSS feeds.

Open source monitoring with social extensions: Use an open source monitoring platform as a base, but make it highly social via a set of extensions, with hooks to Twitter, recommended blogs, etc.

Similar to a product like StockTwits, I’d imagine you’d also want to feed this highly curated, specific Twitter stream to a destination site which could hopefully drive additional user acquisition through SEO.

If you’re an IT manager or a system administrator, do you want your toolkit to be more social? Is anyone doing something like this today? Do sysadmins even want this, or are they content with a social networking experience that is disconnected from their day-to-day toolkit. Very curious to hear your thoughts.

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Written by John Gannon

December 29, 2009 at 8:23 pm

The future of the analyst firm

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Image representing LinkedIn as depicted in Cru...

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As an entry level VC, I find myself relying heavily on social networking technologies to get my job done.  I have spent the better part of the last couple of years building my LinkedIn network, and leverage it on a daily basis to gather information about companies or to reach individuals within those companies.  Generally, I have found people are very open to chatting about their work and industry, and are also generous with their time.

If LinkedIn or Facebook did not exist, I would have a much harder time doing my job.  In fact, I am very curious how entry level VC’s in the pre-social networking boom world would get access to the kinds of experts they’d need to conduct good due diligence.  My guess is that they’d need to rely more heavily on the partners’ networks and on analyst firms such as Forrester, Gartner, GLG, and Corporate Executive Board.

We may never get to a point where the analyst firms are completely disintermediated by social networking technologies, but slowly, as the tools to mine data and expertise from social networks grows, I have to think the analyst firms and proprietary database providers like Dow Jones or Thompson will start to see profits decline.  I haven’t seen or heard of any partnerships between folks like LinkedIn and the analyst firms or the Thomson’s of the world.  However, it would strongly benefit the research and analyst shops to modify their business models to be more accepting of an increasingly ‘crowdsourced’ world.

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Written by John Gannon

December 4, 2008 at 8:02 pm

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